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Me, standing in front of a mural near where Tara works in Corvallis.

I took Will on some big adventures while he visited the Pacific Northwest, but we also went on a bunch of tiny adventures.

Revolving case of donuts at VooDoo Donuts.

We explored a lot around Portland. There is so much fun stuff to see and do in the city, as I am sure is true for any city. Portland has a great vibe and prides itself on being tolerant. The amount of kindness shown by strangers on the street in Portland far outshines any city I’ve ever lived in, and though we (like everyone) definitely need to improve our appreciation for people who are different, the effort that is made is noticeable. It’s a great small city.

We parked by a giant bronze elephant statue, visited the giant Powell’s bookstore, then walked to VooDoo Donuts, a famous portland donut shop that everyone wants to visit. Their pink and eclectic shop is entertaining while you wait (there is always a line) for a donut. We sat outside to eat our donuts and Will liked his so much that when he finished he let out a whoop and did a fist pump. A passing homeless man laughed and said it must have been a pretty good donut. 🙂

The woman is wondering if the guy at the counter is contemplating the deformed chandelier, or the giant donut on the ceiling (not shown in the photograph).

I pointed out wall art when we saw it. Portland has some great street art and murals.

Next we walked to Mill Ends Park, in the Guinness Book of World Records for world’s smallest city park, at 452.16 square inches. I thought for sure I had told the back story of Mill Ends Park in a previous blog about it, but I did not. Dick Fagan was a journalist whose office window looked onto the spot where a utility hole was prepared, but no pole ever erected. He imagined a park there, named it after the pieces cut off timber in a mill, and began writing about it in the paper. His dream came to life. This post will be long, so I’ll skip the full story to save space. The park has a sign now, but I liked it better without the sign because that made it feel more like a scavenger hunt to find it.

At Waterfront Park, beside the tiny park, we walked over and gazed at the Willamette River in the setting sun and I pointed out my favourite Portland bridge: the Hawthorne Bridge. Opened in 1910, it is the oldest vertical lift bridge in operation in the country, and on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Cyclist rides past Mill Ends Park. Vegetation is replaced periodically in the little park, to keep it looking fresh.

“Pose for a picture, eh?”

Crows were amassed in the tops of every tree near the Hawthorne Bridge, and the cries from a thousand crows were cacawphanous.

Waterfront buildings in Portland, beneath colourful skies filled with crows.

On another trip to the city, I took Will up to the Pittock Mansion grounds. We did not buy tickets to go into the mansion, but instead walked across the grounds to an overlook point across the city of Portland toward Mt. Hood in the distance. It felt like our own version of Seattle’s Kerry Park, as I mentioned in a recent post.

The view of Portland and Mt. Hood from Pittock Mansion.

The view reminded Will of the tram, so we returned to downtown to ride the tram. The tram takes people up to Pill Hill, so called because on the top of the hills of west Portland is a collection of medical facilities, including the very large Veterans Hospital and even larger Oregon Health & Science University, a teaching hospital (OHSU). The hilltop is so crowded with facilities that there isn’t much room left for parking. To encourage people to park at the bottom instead, a tram was installed. I have never used it to attend a doctor’s appointment, but I’ve taken it several times just for fun.

“Go by tram.” Sponsored by OHSU, teaching hospital.

Bicycle parking and tram heading into the station.

View of Mt. Hood and South Portland apartment towers from the tram station on top of the hill.

I want to see this sign on every single trail.

Bonfire erasing the signs of winter floods.

On another day, we went to see the much-visited Beaver Creek Falls, that I often take friends to because it’s close to home and because it’s the same creek that runs through my property. Will also helped me do some cleanup work on the property. My blogger people will know that I had some flooding over the winter. This dragged a bunch of sticks and logs and branches onto the grass. That stuff has to be cleaned up so I can mow without damaging the blades when the grass starts growing. We hauled brush and then had a bonfire.

Will at Beaver Creek Falls.

OSU Beaver

We took a short road-trip along the coast (separate blog post coming soon!) and returned through Corvallis so we could visit Tara and their partner. Tara’s a Junior at Oregon State University and working toward a degree in geology. While walking through campus, Will asked if the trees ahead of us were redwoods. “Oh yeah, probably,” Tara and I answered, and began discussing identifying features such as the way the needles fan out and the grooves in the bark.  Will then asked if I would take a picture of him beside the trees. “Huh?” I thought. Then I realized newcomers are excited about redwood trees not for the needles or the bark, but for their size!! ha ha ha ha. To Tara and I, having lived in the redwood forests of Northern California, these particular trees are not remarkable, and we hadn’t noticed their size at all.  After Tara’s tour of the OSU campus and then a look at the waterfront and downtown area of Corvallis, we went home. Will made dinner for everyone, and since it was St. Patrick’s Day, Tara made their famous St. Patrick’s Day chocolate cupcakes, that call for Guiness, Irish whiskey, AND Irish creme in the recipe.

Women’s Building on OSU campus is a beautiful building.

Inside one of the campus buildings, I noticed the light at the elevator was the Beaver logo. OSU is home of the Beavers.

Will gazes up at the redwood trees.

On another quick excursion, we went for an up-close look at Mt. Hood, featured in so many vistas of his trip so far. The mountain remains beautiful, even when you are standing on its slopes.

The least interesting city in Oregon

On the way there, we detoured into Boring, Oregon (sister cities are Dull, Scotland and Bland, Australia). Will really wanted to buy a T-shirt that said Boring. “It’s the only thing they’ve got going,” he reasoned. “Someone will be selling a Boring T-shirt.” But no!! We stopped and walked, and explored a convenience store, and looked for a gift shop that apparently no longer exists. No one was selling a Boring T-shirt. Entreprenuers, take note.

Deep snow at Timberline Lodge completely covers this window. That’s a hand-carved newel post cap in the foreground.

One of the best things about Mt. Hood is Timberline Lodge. The building is big, beautiful, and welcoming. There are historical displays all around, so it’s partly like a small museum, and almost all the windows open onto a spectacular view (unless they’re blocked by snow). It’s three stories high with a giant fireplace that rises up through those stories. There are two restaurants and a bar inside! The food and drinks are top notch. You can see shots of Timberline Lodge and the mountain in my blog post from last June. We did get neat photos of snow piled up against a window – something I did not see in June!

The first thing we did at Timberline Lodge was get a bite to eat. We sat at a table with this view of Mt. Jefferson to the south.

The view on the other side of the lodge, up toward the peak of Mt. Hood. The ski lift wasn’t running on this slope for some reason, but all the other lifts were busy.

I’ve been posting a lot this week because I have so many stories to tell, and also because I have several more stories coming up and I want to keep my posts somewhat in order and not get too far behind. There’s more on Will’s visit to the Pacific Northwest ahead. Then I’ll probably post about the Broadway show Aladdin that I’m seeing this week with Tara and their partner Brynnen. After that I’m going to a play with a girlfriend and former co-worker. And then I’m going to Ireland with T for a week. We are so excited!!! (also, super-psyched to travel in a country where I know the language…ha ha) Anyone who remembers Bone (the horse bone) will see him (or her) again because Bone is coming with us. 🙂


big Beaver

I’m on the Beavers’ call list. I think it’s because I was calling them last year to ask for donations to our employee morale organization. In any case, they offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse: $5 for opening night tickets.

Tara and I caught the game tonight. It was a fun girls night out. She is a delight to watch as she grows into her emerging self. Twelve years old is very mature and very immature together. She is a marvel and I adore her – snippy retorts and all.

She wound her long hair into a braid so the blue hair wove through the natural blonde and showed along the length of the braid. Wore her black, oversized Humboldt sweatshirt, and knee socks different colours with her blue cargo capris. Also her new Converse all-stars with comic strip excerpts on the sides. Crazy mix.

We parked under a church, that apparently charges for evening parking. …cuz no one’s at church then! Ha! What a good idea for a money-maker. Walked several blocks to the park and got there in time for the fireworks.

PGE Park

PGE Park

The Sacramento River Cats jumped ahead in the top of the second, and we stayed through the 5th inning, but never saw the Portland Beavers score a run. Too bad. They seemed to have a pretty good pitcher, but the River Cats had some darn good hitters. It got cold and the girlie got tired and she asked a few times if I wanted to go home before she eventually confessed that she wanted to go home.

Planning ahead, I had purchased an extra Widmer’s Hefeweisen that remained untouched at that point. I turned to the group behind me and offered my beer. I tried to explain that I had an extra beer and asked if any of them wanted it. After the third explanation and not getting through to the patriarch of the family, I picked up my beer and showed it to him. He took it gratefully with a smile. Ahhh, to much effort with the words sometimes, when words aren’t even necessary.



The girlie and I had a lovely drive home, oooohing and aaaaahing over the bright lights and tall buildings all decked out for the evening. “This could easily be a sidestreet in New York,” she said. “You know, in the poorer part of town.” I knew what she meant, not the poor part of town, but the less glitzy part of town that we had seen. True, Portland is no Times Square – thank god.

It’s a bit of a pleasure to me that my kid can compare her home city to Manhattan. I want to give her SO MUCH. I want to give her Life. And Experience. I am not wealthy, but I am bullheaded, so that makes up for a lot. Nothing will get in the way of my goals. I simply refuse.

We came home and after she brushed her braces, I tucked her into bed and as she turned back from 16 to 12 years old again… we sang all the Disney songs from Alice in Wonderland that we could remember.

I give myself very good advice
But I very seldom follow it
That explains the trouble that I’m always in

{just then, one of the neighbor cats down below her bedroom window began yowling}

Be Patient is very good advice
But the waiting makes me curious
Will I ever learn to do the things I should?

I take my man to the airport in the morning. He’s going home to Boston to comfort his mother this weekend. She is feeling the stress of trying to care for and protect her sister’s family while she tries to have a full life and support herself as well. She has no one to lean on except Mark. He’s going to be a shoulder for his mom, which is a very sweet thing for a man to do. He’ll be home Tuesday.

That means Saturday I have to take Tara to her first volleyball game of the Spring season by myself. At least I know the gym we’ll be playing at; I like her coach; and Tara loves volleyball. That’s better than the recently completed basketball season, which Tara was only partially convinced she liked playing.

Busy busy weekend for me. Should I plan rest time? Nope! I think I’ll plan a trip to visit my 90 year old Grandma Trulove in Sandy. That should pack things up nicely. If the sun ever shines again, I will work in my yard.

One of my many guises

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